By La Monica Everett-Haynes, Arizona University Communications
TUCSON, AZ - With an emphasis on the historical contributions of African and African-American people around the world, Black History Month events at the University of Arizona in February center on a number of important contemporary issues.
The month's events, partially supported by the UA student services fee, begin today. The kickoff event, which will include music and speeches, will be held 5-6:30 p.m. at the Second Street Garage stage, which is located just south of the garage.
The month's events are built on the theme: "Influences of the Past and the Power of the Present."
"The theme we chose centers on the social justice movement and is about getting everyone together and educating them about the movement," said Jessica Hermann, one of several UA students who coordinated the month's events.
Hermann, an Africana studies and religious studies major and intern with UA's African American Student Affairs, or AASA, said the coordinators were especially intent on improving the knowledge of the community – both on and off campus – about the contributions of African-Americans.
"We want people to learn more about Black history in both fun and creative ways," Hermann said.
The month's events include:
Feb. 2: A screening of "Prom Night in Mississippi" will be held at 7 p.m. at Gallagher Theater, located in the Student Union Memorial Center. The film is about the lives of students attending Charleston High School when it held its first-ever integrated prom in 2008. The screening is being co-hosted by African American Student Affairs at the Women's Resource Center.
Feb. 2: "A Day For Haze," is a tribute event in memory of Hayzel B. Daniels, the first African-American to graduate from the UA's law school. Daniels went on to become the first African-American to serve as an Arizona senator and also worked to dismantle segregation in Arizona. The event is being hosted by the Black Law Students Association and will be held in Room 164 of the James E. Rogers College of Law noon to 1:30 p.m.
Feb. 5: "Key Ingredients of African Soul" will perform at the Dunbar Dance and Arts Academy, 325 W. Second St., 7:30-11:30 p.m. Costs are $5 for students with identification and $10 for the general public.
Feb. 10: Lee Jones, UA's associate dean for student affairs and admissions, will speak during the "Out on the Job" series, which is decicated to learning about the work-related experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. The event begins at noon and will be held in Room 412 of the Student Union Memorial Center.
Feb. 22: "Sports Talk: Issues of Identity, Ownership, and Empowerment in Professional Sports" will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Room 208 of the McKale Memorial Center. Speakers will discuss ways that race infiltrates the world of sports.
Feb: 24: "Knowledge of Where We Come From" will be held at 6 p.m. in Room 209 of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center. Participants will talk about the history of Black civilization in the U.S. and other parts of the world.
Feb. 25: A block party will be held at 5:30 p.m. on the UA Mall. The annual event includes music, singing, dancing and stepping, a form of dance often performed by historically-Black fraternity and sorority members.
"What we are trying to accomplish this month is branching out to people who might not normally attend these events and to make the month more comprehensive," Hermann said. "It's definitely all about getting an education."